Friday, September 15, 2006

Ideals Vs. Reality

I have been thinking recently about how my ideals of parenting have changed since Donovan came into my life. Things that I thought were big no no's in my head for parenting and things that I said I would never do are things that I find myself doing with my son. It has started to bother me because I never thought that I would change my ideals and give in. The things that bother me the most are the pacifier, co-sleeping and TV.
IDEAL: I was adamant about NO pacifier. I thought that it was a bad habit and that his thumb would do fine to soothe and comfort him. My sisters and I never had a pacifier and we're just fine (expect for my oral-fixation). I absolutely hate children who walk around with pacifiers in their mouths, especially when they are like 5 years old. I always felt that the pacifier was an "easy" way out for parents and that it would hinder language development.
REALITY: I started using a pacifier with Donovan before he was even 24 hours old. He had an insatiable sucking instinct and my nipples needed a break. My nipples hurt worse than the C-section did. I demanded a pacifier and we have used it ever since. Our rule is that he only gets the "binky" when is is going to take a nap or got to bed. We stick to that most of the time, but sometimes we get weak and break down. When he hurts himself...I get the binky, when he is crabby but it is too early for bed...I get the binky, when he colors or paints...I get the binky (that one is so he doesn't eat the crayons and finger paint). I have tried so hard to let this go, but I feel guilty for introducing the pacifier. Everytime I give it to him when it isn't bed or nap time, it drives me nuts.
IDEAL: Children sleep in cribs. I was so against co-sleeping. The bed should be an off limits area to children kept especially for moms and dads. Parents need an intimate space for themselves.
REALITY: This is all Don's fault. I wanted him to sleep in his crib in his room when we came home from the hospital, but Don insisted that he sleep with us. We used the little mattress with the side thing in the middle of our bed. It was really easy for me to breastfeed him in the middle of the night every two hours, so I got lazy. I also got accustomed to having Donovan with me at night. Then when I decided that I wanted my bed back I had a nightmare of a time getting him to sleep in his crib. I was so frustrated that I would break down in tears. We started the sleeping in the crib when he was almost 1 year and after about a month of complete frustration, he got use to it. Then summer hit (fucking heat) and Donovan sweats like a little pig. The minute his eyes close, he is dripping with sweat. We only have two window units in our bedroom and in the living room, so back to sleeping in our bed because mommy felt awful that you were so damn hot! I seriously couldn't bear to leave him in that hot ass room while he was sweating so profusely. Since the temperature is cooling off again, I am going to start the crib sleeping routine again. I will miss him so much at night - he is a great snuggler. FYI - co-sleeping doesn't really effect sex, just makes it more interesting!
IDEAL: Children under the age of 5 shouldn't watch TV. Blah blah blah, we all know why!
REALITY: Donovan wakes up in the morning and goes to the living room and turns on the TV, Cable box and AMP to watch Sponge Bob Square Pants and Dora The Explorer. He does this all by himself. Donovan really only watches TV in the morning until breakfast and then sometimes at night. The TV is pretty much on all day long, but not really used. I watch about 3 hours of TV a week when Donovan is awake and watch movies with Don when Donovan goes to bed. I should just turn the damn thing off, but I really enjoy the background noise. We do listen to music a lot but even when were not in the room the TV is on. There is no TV watching during meals or snacks. I feel like he could easily turn into a TV addict since he has been able to work the entertainment center properly since he was like 12 months old.
***Okay, I am done, sorry for that. I needed to get that off my chest so that maybe some of my guilt will dissipate. Looking at the big pictures these things must seem stupid to most people for me to feel guilty about, but I am so stubborn about things that it bothers me that I gave in.


Sarah said...

I read mommy blogs thanks to Beth all the time and they all have the same feeling you have. Do what works versus being the saint of motherhood seems to drive all of you moms crazy. Donovan is fantastic and obviously have parents that aare making good decision for him even when they are not easy!

Im sure this does not fix the feelings but I hope it helps!

Jeanette said...

I agree with Sarah, but I do see that you don't want to compromise what you thought was good parenting to taking the easy road. The pacifier thing, I totally agree with. It's really weird when you see mom put the back pack on and take the pacifier out, but he is nowhere near that age yet. When he gets to that age where it's weird to have pacifiers you'll have to introduce him to pen caps. They've worked for me for the past 20 years.
How does co-sleeping make sex more interesting? While it may not hinder it I'm rather curious about how it makes it interesting (not to be too gross, I already get how tab A goes into slot A, or B, or C - depending on how risky you're feeling).
I'm totally down with the TV. It's not like you guys use it as a babysitter. You do plenty of things with Donovan, much more than a sane family does. I really don't think that this is even close to an issue. TV is truly good entertainment at times. It can also introduce him to different thins in society that you aren't able to yet with him. (Deep sea diving with sponge bob, Dora's fun different language) I think my IQ is just fine now and I always woke up and went to sleep watching TV.

Jenny! said...

To answer your question about sex...we haven't had sex in the bed in months...makes it kind of interesting. For most the bed is the norm...but for us, the bed is exotic (or whatever is opposite normal).

Thanks guys, you totally made me feel better. I just needed to get it out. I know I'm a good mom and that's all that matters!

Jeanette said...

Oh, totally get it now.